Tag Archives: Arc de Triomphe

Epiphany in Paris

“I genuinely would recommend anyone going through a break-up to go on holiday as soon as they can,” I told a friend the other day. “It’s the best way to clear your head and make a proper stab at getting over everything.”

Paris was beautiful.
When I’d booked it back in January with The Bessie to coincide with the end of her first year as a teacher, I had no idea just how important it would end up being to me.
A week after I said goodbye to Him, I was on a plane to the most beautiful city in the world.

Paris had always been Our place.
The first night, myself and The Bessie sat on the steps of Palais de Chaillot as the sun began to set and waited for the Eiffel Tower lights to be turned on.
We amused ourselves by watching the rollerbladers perform stunts and tricks, in the same way I had watched skateboarders in the exact same spot with Him two years beforehand on our very first night together in Paris.
That was difficult.

However, as the sun beat down on us the next day, trips through the city to Notre Dame and the Sacre Coeur started to clear some of the clouds from my brain.
As I skipped down the steep stone steps on the butte Montmartre, clutching a precious bottle of water I felt so far from my life that the pain eased and I felt positive for the first time in a long time.
Later that afternoon, I sat on the curb across from Oscar Wilde’s tomb after a walk around Pere Lachaise.
As I watched tonnes of people scramble to take a picture of the grave of a man whose work they probably never read, I thought about whether the flesh coloured tights I was wearing were too shiny or if I was getting away with faking ‘the natural look’.
Probably not what Wilde would’ve hoped for, but it was nice to be thinking about something as shallow as that after so many heavy thoughts.

A couple of days later, we travelled out to Versailles and after a gruelling walk in high temperatures that Irish people are just not made to survive in, we reached the home of Marie Antoinette – the Petit Trianon. It was possibly the most fascinating place I’ve ever seen in my life and we were both awe-struck and disgusted at how much money she pumped into creating the most unbelievable fairytale-like village.
I wanted to live there.

Every night, we visited the same restaurant I always went to with Him.
No break-up should stop you from getting the best pizza in the world.
I sat there wondering if the owners would recognise me from the other times I’d been there.
Mr Owner did not disappoint: “You’ve been here before, yes? Yes, I remember you. You look like Lily Allen.” Last summer, he told me I looked like Sophie Ellis-Bextor…neither comparisons are true, but I definitely preferred the original one.
On our last night, he presented us with large shots that tasted of Lemon Sherbet, after his wife removed our plates, chuckling at the fact I’d ordered the same pizza yet again.
“You are special,” he said to me. “You are one of the special visitors.”

I knocked it back and headed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe to get one last look at the city that had stolen my heart.
Standing up there, with the wind whipping my hair in all directions, I watched the people around me – families, couples, friends, all smiling and happy.
American girls laughed as they tried to get every possible pose pictured with the Eiffel Tower behind them. I knocked into one of them as I tried to squish by their large group.
“Whoops! Sorry about that, “ I said.
“Omg, no,” she exclaimed, “that was so totally my fault”.
Smiling at her and waving off her apology, I nearly walked into the Japanese man who had walked up the long flight of stairs in front of me. He smiled apologetically and bowed.

I felt it would be nice to stay up here forever and just continue to have pleasant moments with complete strangers.
People are so lovely when they’re happy.
And that’s when it hit me.
We hadn’t been lovely to each other, because we weren’t happy.
It wasn’t the other way round.
I felt a surge of relief.
It wasn’t our fault.
We hadn’t caused it by doing something awful
We hadn’t done anything wrong.
We just didn’t make each other happy.
That was all.

I floated down the hundreds of steps and emerged from the structure feeling new and hopeful.
Everything was going to be okay.


Filed under Daily Update.

I’m back!!!

Hello Dearies!

That’s right, I’ve returned to the blogosphere and after spending the last two hours catching up on your lovely blogs, it’s time to post about my beautiful Parisian week!

Wow, it was amazing!!!!

I absolutely lovered it!!!

And the weather was fab, which makes my previous meltdown post over possible rain look a tad silly!lol!

Anyhoo, our hotel was gorgeous, and if you’ll please examine Exhibit A, you’ll see what our view was:

That’s right, we were a two minute walk from the Arc de Triomphe and about 5minsfrom the Champs Elysees!

Faboosh!!! Right in the heart of Paris!!! We couldn’t believe our luck!

So what can I say? I’m ashamed to report I did NO clothes shopping! We only had four full days and as I’d never been to Paris before, I was reluctant to abandon the beautiful sights for some clothes! Plus I’m a sucker for the impulse buying and that hardly ever ends well, and once I’m somewhere new, I’m too flustered to shop properly, so I do tend to avoid over-seas shopping!

Plus it was a Me and The Boy holiday so it hardly seemed fair to have him waste his precious holiday time standing in girly clothing stores (although he did offer quite a bit, suspicious at my lack of ‘Ooooo look at that dress’ and ‘Omg, that top is AMAZING’!lol!)

So we did the touristy things and went to the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe:

We also headed to Notre Dame at the request of The Boy, who wanted to reenact a childhood experience, and who neglected to remember how FRICKIN’ TERRIFYING AND WINDING AND HIGH THE STEPS GO!!! This ended in me hyperventilating in the middle of the tower and having to sit down for about 15 minutes afterwards just to stop my legs trembling (needless to say, I didn’t venture to climb La Tour d’Eiffel). However, the church was beautiful and I did get some great shots from the top of the tower:

And then there was the Louvre, which took up the majority of our second afternoon, quite a lot of memory on our cameras, resulted in some hilarious videos and we STILL didn’t get to see it all!!! It really is breathtaking:


While I didn’t indulge in any clothes shopping, we both got some great souvenir shopping done. Purchases include the must-have beret, a Moulin Rouge Pill Box, an adorable musical carousel, posters, gargoyle statues, an Edith Piaf CD boxset (thank you Greg) and a gold-plated hieroglyphic snuff box!

That reminds me, we found the Moulin Rouge:


Wow, ok we did and saw so much it’s impossible to do it all justice, so in summary:

Some Highlights of the Trip:

.The fact that the majority of what we ate was Italian food which was AMAZING and far superior to anything we ate in Venice. Here’s a picture of our local bistro where we consumed large portions of unbelievably great pizza…

.All the amazing places we went, some of which I’ve mentioned, and others like the Sacre Coeur,and the Seine.

.The fact that the meal with The Boy’s French Family went really well!

.Laughing at my attempts at French.

.The croissant and coffee breakfasts.

.And the ultimate highlight, which was realising La Chat Noir is still around and getting to eat crepes in it:

A Few Minor Lowlights:

.Mistaking the Eifel Tower for a telephone mast.

.Having the majority of people working in shops and restuaurants be terribly rude to us and make us feel like smelly poos.

.And looking like this in nearly every photo taken of me (lol, actually that was really funny) ….

Lol, Oh Catherine!

Anyhoo, yes Paris Trip can be deemed a complete and total success!!!! Can’t wait to go back!!!!! 🙂


Filed under Daily Update., General Observations, Music, Photography, Pretty Things